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The bank guarantees, or, more precisely, the bank, behind Veselin Topalov's world championship challenge to Vladimir Kramnik have been rejected by the Swiss bank that runs FIDE's banking. Apparently Bob's Bank of Bulgaria didn't cut the mustard. Since everyone and their yak knew there was no hope of this match taking place anyway this doesn't mean anything other than a convenient reason why. The timeframe was too narrow already and by now it has closed entirely. Free advice: there seem to be many banks in Nigeria making spectacular offers.


Not only am I enjoying Topalov's play at Corus, but the farce is terrific. D. should quit his job as manager and hire himself out as an entertainer!

Well, perhaps the reputable Swiss bank requires a Bulgarian bank without computer wires in their toilet

It's obvious now that UBS is simply part of the big conspiracy that seeks to ensure that the title remains in Russian hands forever.

acirce, I know you jest, but now that you've planted the conspiracy seed I'd bet money it will be taken seriously and will appear on at least one website devoted to a certain talented chess player. Shame on you ;-) [I'll be sure to send you half my winnings].

"""We are astonished with this decision because it means that we have to initiate negotiations with a different bank, which will require quite some time."""


Do not worry. You have plenty of time. See you at the Saturday Night Live Dressing Room A. You are next up on the stage. I can hear the audience laughing already.

Any idea why the bank was rejected?

This is good news as it provides logical legal basis for rejection of the match (though maybe the match going forward would be a good idea--but if it's to be rejected it's good to have a foundation).

Any idea how tight Kirsan is with UBS AG?

What a stupid reason to reject the match. There were other "more reasonable reasons" to reject it and not this one...

It would seem that this paragraph from the rules makes it even theoretically impossible (since about a week) for the match to start in time legally:

"3. 21. 1. 1 After the Presidential Board (or the FIDE President) has approved who shall be selected to organize the event, the challenger’s side shall deposit, not later than 45 days before the start of the match, in escrow, net and free of all taxes, with the FIDE bankers the full sums of money, as described in articles 2.1.a, 2.1.b and 2.2, and all costs related to FIDE as stipends, travel, full board and lodge and other administrative costs for communications etc in accordance with a budget agreed between FIDE and the Organizers.

Not later than 45 days before the start of the match, FIDE shall also be reimbursed for its direct expenses incurred in the organization of the match. This shall be a fixed sum of 35,000 USD towards the budget of the World Chess Championship Committee (WCCC) plus a fixed sum of 25,000 USD for the expenses of the live transmission of the games via the internet, as described below in article The WCCC shall advise and help the Organiser(s) on protocol, budget, infrastructure, media, commentary, bulletin and other technical problems."

45 days from now is March which is too late for the match to start if it's to be finished 6 months before Mexico. Of course there was never any realistic chance for the match to take place, but once the regulations strictly forbids it nobody would have any even remotely legitimate reason to protest. Not that the Topalov-Danailov symbiote cares about rules when they don't serve their interests, but it's good to know that they're not even formally right.

I want to know how chess tournaments are able to provide so high cash-prize. Chess is not a sport with mass-support. So, who gives so much money ? For fide matches, does Kirsan provide the cash ?

Well, four other Bulgarian banks are listed as being acceptable for UBS, so, Mig, your uber-sarcasm is preemptory and unnecessary at this point. Moreover, you have not read Kirsan's answer (out today) in which he says the issue will be discussed this weekend. If Silvio can get his guarantees from the four banks mentioned in the letter, there still might be a chance.

Well, behind the apparent bureaucratic runaround, we clearly see Camel Trading 101. Obviously, Kirsan Nikolaevitch doesn't want to rule out the match altogether. Why would he? He has a nice forking move on Kramnik -- comply with your contract to play Mexico 2007, or play a pleasant rematch in Sofia...

Danailov might be thinking -- hey, you do not play by the rules of FIDE, then why can't our guy play Mexico2007? Who would mind? The sponsors? The spectators? Who would mind seeing one of the elite competing? What's preventing it is a piece of paper not worth any more than your other contracts, rules and regulations, which amount to little more than camel dung...

That's what's going on, I think.


hey why do u low blow Nigerian banks, i am from Nigeria and we huve good bank too. You joke shows self centered white man bigotry point of view.

As a "whiteman" I express to Nigerian chess players and people my personal regret, for theese ugly jokes.

Well, kind Nigerian bankers offer me 10% of some unfortunately deceased person's $24 million fortune every day.

As I have enough money already, I never reply to them.

Obviously, the last two posters haven't gotten the "Alfred Mugabe" e-mail. The author of this e-mail identifies himself as a Nigerian finance minister or something, says he is in possession of 60 million USD and needs YOUR account information to transfer the funds into before the incoming government siezes the funds.

In other words, it was a joke based on an e-mail scam. Nigeria happened to be mentioned in the scam e-mail. But I guess if you look for racism everywhere, you'll find it...

I didn't mean you, gg.

of course everyone knew that this match isnt supposed to happen and won't take place in such hasty manner, but the reason for the rejection is retarded, and so is your *witty* sarcasm.

Topalov's site has something on the issue. Seems FIDE also replied.



Interesting what will be the new excuse of FIDE in the meeting they will have.

Doesn't seem to have been updated since Octpber last year, that site. Or perhaps it records only the triumphs of the great man?!

Marca, why on earth are you interested? The fact is Topalov's made himself a pariah and it ain't gonna happen. Why does it matter what excuse FIDE give? It's clear the timing is too late anyway.

rdh, the news there seems to be written an hour ago (or you are trying to be ironical?).
Anyhow, FIDE does not say there will be no match. And the rules seem to be clear. Either they are going to change something or they will find another excuse.
FIDE needs a change.

FIDE needs a change, well no sh*t, Sherlock. Pity yer man Topa didn't think of that before endorsing Ilyumzhinov before the last election. You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

I was referring to the complete absence of references to Elista in, for example, the review of the 'reach' chess year 2006 for our hero Veselin.

The timing rules are pretty clear, aren't they? I can't be bothered to search now but someone posted them before and it seemed pretty clear this challenge was out of time.

To translate it briefly - a major bank in Bulgaria is ready to confirm the bank guarantees for the match to take place.

rdh, the timing rules are not clear at all unless Kramnik firmly states that he is playing Mexico2007. You're a lawyer, you should figure these things in a blink.


"The fact is Topalov's made himself a pariah [...]"


but it starts getting harder and harder focusing on those Elista-deeds the way he has been entertaining on the board the last couple of days.

I have never been a Topalov-follower since my man has always been Vishy.

When I first heard about the allegations against him, I didn't take a stand. Watching his convincing, at least to a weak player, analysis, and his play against Shirov, I must admit that for some strange reason, I get some sympathy for him.

On the banks issue: If Nigerian banks actually are involved in these lame email scams, you could say that at least those banks give you a decent chance to avoid getting swindled which is more than you can say about certain earlier examples of American and European banks.

Anyway, let's keep the political correctness where it was probably born and is thriving so well. In Scandinavia.

Btw. Sorry for doubleposting earlier. Got some strange script error the first time posting...

Last thing: What is it about Anand at some point turning down a WCC match ? Not sure about the details here, and even though it might be sad learning for a fan, I would like to know. Pointers ?

Thanks Dimi. That must be the Danailov's loophole. If Kramnik is playing in Mexico, then there is no time for a rematch, but it seems there has been no firm assurance from Kramnik that he will play in Mexico (reports to date are mixed: 'yes he'll play' vs 'still negotiating'.)

It is amusing watching FIDE and Danailov spar: who is the 'good' guy when two corrupt and incompetent forces meet?


It doesn't take a lawyer to read a contract. The FIDE rulebook says the match has to be finished six months before the start of the next WCC tournament. It doesn't say "the next WCC in which the current world champion is participating." That's not even implied.

DaneDude: Anand was offered, or half-offered, the match with Kasparov in 2000 which Kasparov then offered to Kramnik instead.

What ever happend to Radjubov's offer to play the world champion? Is he not interested in playing Kramnik?

Yuriy Kleyner: It doesn't take a lawyer to read a contract. The FIDE rulebook says the match has to be finished six months before the start of the next WCC tournament. It doesn't say "the next WCC in which the current world champion is participating." That's not even implied.

Excellent point. I agree. Then you Yuriy state that a legitimate World Chess Championship does not presupposes the participation of the current champion and the new champion will be crowned amongst the pool of participants. If that's the case than Kramnik's participation is not required and you are right about the deadline issue. It is that I read commntaries to the contrary -- stating that Kramnik can retain his title without participating in any contest: Mexico or Sofia, which is clearly unacceptable.


>Daniel J Andrews: Thanks Dimi. That must be the Danailov's loophole.

It is more than a loophole, Daniel, you can drive a herd of camels through it.

>It is amusing watching FIDE and Danailov spar: who is the 'good' guy when two corrupt and incompetent forces meet?

The pejorative remarks are out of place here. Really. See what's on the other side -- had there been transparency in the position of the current title holder and respect for a contract this whole affair would have been a mute point.



The FIDE guidebook clearly stipulates the rules according to which FIDE championship may be contested. According to this rulebook, Topalov would have to have the match finished six months before the next FIDE WCC in order to be a legitimate FIDE championship match. According to this rulebook, the FIDE WCC champion does not have to participate in the next WCC to lose the title. Of course, I along with most chess fans do not think much of FIDE title and there is really no legal basis on which to argue that Kramnik must play Topalov over any other championship.

I agree that FIDE's rulebook allows them to hold a cycle next year for their title without Kramnik's participation. Unfortunately, I along with most chess fans stopped putting much stock into that title around the time Khalifman won it. Precisely because of rules like these.


thanks for the info.

Are Anands reasons for having declined that match known ?


"At the time of the bank discussions Veselin Topalov made a great radio show in Holland and made many chess fans happy."

Funny to read that before the radio show was even broadcasted.


"Stefan Sergiev, the president of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, said he is sceptic about a future return match. He believes that there is too little time and even if the bank guarantee is ok, the match cannot happen 6 months before the tournament in Mexico."

Seems somebody woke up.

Anyone making predictions when Danailov will have everything ready? In the beginning of December it was "very soon" that the bank guarantees would be ready, at the 20th it was "before the end of the week", which turned out to be the 8th of January. It makes me wonder. Does the whole country Bulgaria use a different calendar than the rest of the world, or is it just him?

Yuriy, I understand. Your position is based on the premise that the World Chess Title unification never took place. It is pointless to argue about that any longer, as all sides have stated their positions. It only remains to be seen whether this position will hold the test of time. I doubt it will.



Silvio is currently printing the money in his backyard in Salamanka. When finished, the rematch will begin.

It seems to me there is once more much noise about nothing : does any1 of you guys really think VK would have taken this offer just a few months after Elista without an adequate preparation ?
This excitment looks quite ridiculous to me.

"does any1 of you guys really think VK would have taken this offer just a few months after Elista without an adequate preparation ?"

Kramnik has to, if the prize pool is at least $1 million, assuming that all other statutes are met. Presumably if he does not, the title is forfeited to the challenger.

Given the time frames involved, this is likely a moot point anyway; any match would have to be finished by March 12, and the statues (D.01.05, 2.4) allows FIDE up to five months to pull the match together. Mark Crowther has already mentioned this is the probably opt-out clause.

During the past hour an interview with Topalov was broadcasted from Wijk aan Zee on Dutch radio. It was rather tame actually, the interviewer did not ask tough questions like "Do you really think he cheated?", "Did he use a computer during play?", "Was he helped by the KGB?".

Maybe the interview made many chess fans happy (those on veselintopalov.net), but not me, although it was interesting enough. Anyway, an hour for chess on national radio, not that bad.

They spoke about the career of Topalov, his plans for the future (when he stops playing chess he would like to do something for charity), the way he sees the future in chess, computers and so on.

Some things he said that struck me (not verbatim, I cannot type that quickly):

- Before the match I analyzed my games, his games, and I felt I was clearly better. So I considered myself to be the favorite.

- He went to the toilet more than 10 times an hour, during a game he disappears more than half an hour.

(About changing the Committee of Appeal)
- Suppose in football (soccer for Americans) one of the teams changes the referee because they do not like the decision he made.

- I played in Russia, it was obvious the organizers defended the Russian player. There was a hostile ambiance.

- The toilet was prepared to have internet connection.

- The committee asked Kramnik why he was so long/often in the toilet, and he said he was drinking a lot. This was a lie, one could see on tape he did not drank that much. This is the reason our complaint was accepted.

- I never considered Kramnik as a champion when I played him in Elista, he was the challenger. The journalists called it a unification, but the tournament in Argentina was for unification.

(About the bank that is not accepted by the bank of FIDE)
- There is nothing wrong with this bank, the president of Bulgaria works with this bank. The FIDE also does not recognize Societe Generale or Raifeissen, really big banks.

- Kramnik loved to play in Russia, his territory, but is afraid to play in Bulgaria. He always likes to have some privileges, such as keeping his title in case of a tie when playing Leko. In Bulgaria we would play on equal terms, he does not like that.

(If he did not feel guilty)
- We did not break the rules, he did.

(About their game in round 12)
- It is just one of the thirteen games, one can gain just one point, like in the other games.

No, Dimi, my position is based on the fact that FIDE world title is governed by FIDE rules (according to which you must complete the match six months before the tournament and according to which the title may be won through a round-robin tournament) and world chess title, which is to be governed by chess.

If Topalov wants to try and win the first title, he had to have finished submitting the proposal by now.

If Topalov wants to win the latter, he is welcome to try, but nothing legally obligates Kramnik to play him and perhaps throwing out baseless accusations and insults was not the best way of proceeding.

Ok Yuriy, so how many World titles are out there? From what you're saying it appears that Kramnik holds 2 titles at the moment. That's the position I feel is absurd and will not hold the test of time. I know guys like you and Russianbear believe in that and there's no point arguing. It's just so absurd, it's bizarre. You will see.


Thanks, Oscar. It was interesting to read even this much of the interview.

Strange man, Topalov. One minute it's charity, the other it's self-justification.

As FIDE Treasurer, perhaps I could explain the situation before the conspiracy theorists on Mig's site get too excited.

It is an obvious precaution to enquire of our banker's as to the validity of any guarantee provided, all businesses do this, as one needs to know whether the guarantor will pay up. Our bankers (UBS) replied that they do not accept guarntees from this bank, but they do from other Bulgarian banks and we forwarded these to Mr Danailov.

I suppose it is a change for FIDE for being accused of being too business-like. David Jarrett's appointment as Executive Director must be having a good effect.

Best regards

Nigel Freeman

If my memory is correct, Anand did not play Kasparov because he said he had signed a contract with fide to only play a fide championship match and the Kasparov Match would have been outside fide. Anand was honest in my opinion,

It makes sense to reject the bid based on the bank. First order of business is to have a valid challenge. The challenge is not jet officially been made and therefore the other reasons to reject the bid do not apply. There is NO BID is the point. There is nothing to reject.

There must first be a valid offer of a challenge before it can be rejected. Kirsan told Topalov way back in December that if a valid offer was presented then he would make a decision. So far there has not been an offer. Everyone acts like there have been many offers but there have been no valid offers so far.

If I were UBS, I wouldn't accept that bank's $2M note either. According to the website, the entire assests are only about $50M total (that's assets, not equity). The site and financials look like some type of oraganization's funding that has been chartered as a bank, rather than an established, secure institution.

If Danilov really has the $2M, getting one of the other banks to make the transaction is no big deal - it would be done in moments.


You ask how many world titles are out there. Perhaps it would be best to start by asking what a world championship is. Is it a legal concept or a mental concept that exists in our mind as fans? If it's the former, and you believe there should be only one, what right is there for any organization to create such a concept and make rules as to how it should be held? If it's the latter, then we would each of course have our own idea of what makes it a champion; while we can agree or argue about the idea, it is really not at all surprising that people would have different thoughts on the subject.

I look forward to yours.

Dear Yuriy,

we can expound on a lengthy philosophical treatise on this subject, and I appreciate your effort, but the resolution usually rests in very practical terms.

If Anand, for example, wins Mexico 2007 it will be extremely hard to convince 1 billion Indians, and many in the World as well, that somehow Anand is half a champion due to some very obscure points on chess title heritage, etc. The reason why Kasparov was able to break out and be accepted is not because of the 120 odd years of tradition, but simply because he beat everyone he met for a long time. Unless Kramnik plays and wins in Mexico, which is very likely, BTW, I do not see how he can retain the aura of a title holder. But again, time will show.




"..it will be extremely hard to convince 1 billion Indians, and many in the World as well.."

"...Anand is half a champion due to some very obscure points..."

"[Kramnik can't]... retain the aura of a title holder."

Dimi, you are probably thinking too much in terms of sterotypes... the typical chess world champion for you might be someone from Russia and/or someone who is a rebellious/eccentric genius like Tal, Fischer, Kasparov.... Not surprising that Kramnik wouldn't have the aura for you and Anand would only be half a champion due to obscure reasons.

"In Bulgaria we would play on equal terms, he does not like that." LOL !!!

Poor Topalov. But if he wins Corus convincingly, his delusioned state of mind won't matter a bit for the "fans", who will say he deserves a rematch at two months' notice...


Whether or not an idea of “multiple champions” is absurd is a philosophical question. From a practical perspective, it actually is exactly how things have been for many years in boxing and mixed martial arts.

You seem to say that history will sort things out or that world championship can be settled by universal acclaim, but then what is one to do in a situation like this one where some of the public believes one thing and some another? How are you to argue for one viewpoint or another? In such a situation it helps to have an objective standard or set of principles according to which one can determine who should be acknowledged as champion.

I don’t think that acclaim of thousands of fans who have personal bias towards their countrymate is a good standard. Nor would Anand’s victory in Mexico be “beating everyone he met for a long time.” Let’s look at the past two years:

Linares 2005: Anand finishes third, 1 and a half points behind Kasparov and Topalov
Mtel 2005: Anand finishes second, 1 point behind Topalov
Dortmund 2005: Anand does not play, Naiditsch wins, Topalov, Bacrot, Van Wely and Svidler tie for second half a point behind.
San Luis 2005: Anand finishes tied for second with Svidler, 1.5 points behind Topalov
Corus 2006: Anand ties for first with Topalov
Linares 2006: Anand does not play, Aronian wins.
Mtel 2006: Anand finishes third, 1 point behind Topalov, half a point behind Kamsky
Dortmund 2006: Anand does not play, Kramnik and Svidler tie for first

Anand has not surpassed Topalov in any of the times they played in the same tournament in the past two years and Kramnik beat Topalov in head to head match. Given that neither man seems likely to play Mexico, I don’t think Vishy could claim that he has decisively proven himself to be better than the best simply by winning that tournament. What’s more if a single round-robin win against some of the world’s best is enough to proclaim someone a champion, why shouldn’t we declare the same for Naiditsch in August 2005 or for Radja if he maintains his lead in Corus?

If Kramnik continues to defeat FIDE champions and other of the world’s best in face to face competition, it will be very hard for him to lose the aura of the title holder.

stringTheory -- please, calm down and rephrase the smart things you meant to say, because they make no sense as written currently.


The only good thing that can happen at Mexico is Kramnik winning it. Otherwise there is no proper champion. Coming ahead of another player in one tournament never deposed anyone as champion.

It's simply awesome what a balls-up FIDE have made of this. All that's missing is invading Iraq; short of that there is no conceivable mistake they have avoided, and a good many very imaginative ones they have thought up..

Dimi "The pejorative remarks are out of place here. Really. See what's on the other side -- had there been transparency in the position of the current title holder and respect for a contract this whole affair would have been a mute point."

I wasn't even thinking about the other side. It's rather irrelevant when talking about someone else's corruption. Yes, there could have been more transparency, but how does that change the fact that FIDE/Danialov are at the very least dishonest? FIDE's and Danailov's corruption/incompetence is a matter of record.

Based on that my remarks were more 'observative' than 'perjorative'. Pick any year in the last 20 and you'll probably find FIDE actions in that year match the definitions of corrupt and/or incompetent. Danailov and FIDE are both birds of a feather, and they were incompetent/dishonest/corrupt before this WC mess, and will continue to be so long after this WC mess. Even with absolute perfect behavior by Kramnik, those other two would still be acting true to form.

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 17, 2007 6:23 AM.

    Corus 2007 r4 was the previous entry in this blog.

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